Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Revenge is Sweet

"Where were you?" many angst-ridden pleas and 6 pairs of desperate, searching eyes met me at the door to my classroom. Two wee people koalabeared themselves to each side of me and another grabbed on for the triple hug. I had the audacity to take yesterday off. While it's nice to feel appreciated, it's also nice to have personal space.
"Okay, guys, let's get moving today! Lots to do! Go unpack!" I smiled kindly and attempted to pry one off of me. "Okay, seriously, get off. Get moving," I urged more firmly as my fan club tore themselves away from me. I relaxed for a moment and got my bearing. Sub left note? Check. Sub left room relatively tidy? Check. No complaints about "mean" sub from overprotective psycho parents? Score! Good sub.
Oof. I was bombarded from the front by my sole boy who is still sweet enough to hug his teacher without being mortified. Unfortunately, he also plays tackle football in his offtime. As I tried to get my breath back, I patted him on the head. "You weren't here yesterday!" he accused, glaring somewhat lovingly at me. My little Captain Obvious. I agreed that I was not, in fact, there yesterday and sent him on his merry way. These kids were bonkers today.
I tried to wrap my brain around the fact that these kids haven't had a day when they haven't been tested or otherwise quietly contained in over a week! They were completely flabbergasted when I wrote Normal Day! Switch classes! on the board. It's as though it were the first day of school again. Rules? What rules? Routines? Huh? Things we've done every other day of the school year? Don't know what you're talking about, lady!
We rolled on the floor, we pretended to be Mexican soldiers during the Texas Revolution lesson, we talked during the minute of silence, we forgot all of our went on all day. When I say we, I of course mean they. And they lost a lot of money today per our classroom checkbook arrangement**.
See, our Super-Fun! Movie Event is this Friday. It's the event I've been holding over their heads for eight long weeks. We are going to show the movie Holes. I've been frantically trying to get the whole book read aloud to them for several weeks and today it almost cost me my voice. But it will be worth it, because my movie extravaganza will be the event of the season. The place to see and be seen! The social affair of the season! Really, just baggies of popcorn on the floor of my room. But! We've also included several five dollar BYO_ options, including BYOP (pillow) and BYOS (snack). For just $10 extra, we'll let you sit with a friend.
I had a child on his knees desperately pleading with me at recess today to tell him anything, anything he could do to earn some money back. I just couldn't...quite seem to think of anything. I sadly shook my head at him, a pitying smile on my face. In my mind, my other personality devilishly rubbed her hands together, while swishing her tail and cackling. Heh. I love consequences. Even when I have to wait eight lo-o-o-ong weeks for them. Tomorrow I might dangle a little cash in front of him in exchange for some effort on the millionth district assessment he has to tackle. We'll see how I'm feeling. Mwua-ah-ah!

**Checkbook arrangement, per early-January post: In addition to my school not believing in grades, doors, or the teaching of spelling, they also frown upon classroom management. That is, you are encouraged to reward children (positive reinforcement), but you may not actually discipline them. This practice could be damaging to their self-esteem. WELL. I'm not really into self-esteem. I like kids and kids like me, but this feel good stuff is for the softies. This sugary sweet scenario just doesn't fly in my world, so my team and I came up with a behavior checkbook "system" cleverly disguised as positive reinforcement (technically, we could give them money for being chipper little dumplings and pleasing us, I suppose, but please.). In this Plan, we dangle a Super-Fun! privilege in front of them at the end of each quarter which they may only attend if they have the cash flow to afford it. Then we snatch all their money when they're bad. Mwa-ah-ah! But obviously, you clever readers, that's not listed in the system description submitted to the proper authorities.


Jan said...

What a great idea. I've considered doing something similar, and your plan has given me a great starting point. And I applaud the creativity in getting around the administration's parameters. Ha!

Jen said...

I was just going to ask you why you never post pictures of yourself on your blog when I saw that you added a Flickr Zeitgeist thingy to your blog. And then there you were!

I figured you rarely posted pictures of yourself because you wanted to remain anonymous in case any of your students (or students' parents!) came across your blog. That way you could vent all you wanted about them without too much worry, right?

Just curious!

Janet said...

At least when you leave and return you know you are missed. If I go out for a break and come back there are kids who ooh and ahh. It's sweet. It would be EVEN sweeter though if they were angels while I was there.:)

Dree said...

I've wanted to use a money-management system with my first graders (using coins, not checks) and have a mini-mart with prizes for sale on Fridays. My only problem was trying to figure out how to actually keep track of all the money, when to give it, and when to take it away. Ugh. Classroom management is annoying. The kids should just be good without being told. :)